Mrinal Sen’s Khandar at Cannes 2010
Last year the Cannes Film Festival had proposed a mini-retrospective of the work of celebrated Indian director Mrinal Sen, but because the prints of most of his films were in ‘poor condition’, it never came through.
This year, Sen’s film Khandar has been selected as one of the films that will be screened in the Cannes Classics section of the festival. Films of directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Luis Bunuel and Volker Schlondroff are part of this selection. Sen is expected to be present for this screening.
The National Film Archive in Pune was given a directive by the Prime Minister last year to restore each of Sen’s films. The screening at Cannes has reportedly been made possible because of the successful restoration.
Khandar was made in 1983 and starred Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur and Annu Kapur. I had written a retrospective piece on the film on the occasion of Mrinal Sen getting the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival in 2008 in New Delhi. Click here to access it.
And while the Indian press seems just thrilled at this recognition India has got at Cannes, not one of them has got the name of the film right. All sites have picked up an agency copy which refers to the film as ‘Kandahar’. They have all retained the English title The Ruins, but no one has managed to put two and two together.